Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Little girls to Love Him

It is no secret that I have been trying to trace Trax's ownership ever since I got him. I thought that I had pretty much reached a dead end and was reduced to comparing him to registered horses I saw and dreaming of what his parents looked like.

Recently I was going through horse papers so I could send off Sassy's papers to BEC. I ran across an old faded copy of an auction receipt which I knew came with Trax when I bought him. I had contacted the person who was listed as the buyer but had never been able to find the seller. 

The buyer was the one who had told me about how every time he tried to rope on him he got bucked off. 

I looked at the name of the seller again and thought "what the heck" and I plugged the name into Facebook. The name came right up, I could see that she was a horse person and was from Northern WY, so I was reasonably sure that I was on the right track. Then I noticed that she and I had a mutual friend. It was none other than the love of my life, TC.  Figures!

So I sent her a message with a photo of my boy. I sent it from my account and from TC's.  I waited a couple of weeks and got no response so I figured I must have had the wrong person or perhaps her experience was so bad she didn't want to talk about it.  

This morning I was drinking my coffee,checking my Facebook and much to my surprise there was a response.She told me that,yes they had owned him and his name was "Sota".  They had purchased him from somewhere back east and brought him to WY.  He was a trail horse when they bought him and her girls had ridden him a lot and he loved those girls very much. They were equally fond of him.  Then they trained him to be a fair heel horse and ran him through their production sale. 

I was really surprised by this story as I would never in a million years feel safe putting a kid on my run away freight train. not even one who was an experienced rider. He is just too unpredictable. 

I had to ask how old her girls were and if they ever had a problem with him when they were roping. 

She swore that they never did and she sent me this. 

This is her 12 year old daughter riding him bareback in a halter. 

She doesn't even have a death grip on him!!

He is not trying to run away with her.  He doesn't even looked concerned that her legs are dangling by his side.  

(keep in mind that the one time we tried to ride this horse bareback he bolted uncontrollably and my friend who was on him had to bail into a mound of dirt.  If I even kick my feet out of the stirrups when walking, he gets very upset instantly)

It kind of brings to question, what the hell happened to this horse?

How did he go from being a perfectly good trail horse, safe for youth to ride, to being a run away freight train who is so unpredictable I'm afraid to let hardly anyone else ride him.   

Of course I may be a bit over reactive because I am sure that any experienced rider could handle him just fine.  It isn't like he is a bad horse.

Anyway, once I got done crying over this picture (more happy tears than not) I started thinking about what I know about his journey.  

We will start at the beginning.  

He was born in 1999 somewhere back east.  (that was the most she could tell me there)  He was a perfectly acceptable trail horse.  He was purchased by the MC family whose young girls rode him extensively (bareback in a halter). I was told that he absolutely loved those girls.  The MC family buys and sells horses for a living, so they taught him to be a heel horse and then put him in their production sale.  He was a perfectly acceptable heel horse, according to MC herself. 

He was purchased for the sum of $3000 by the JC family.  The Matriarch of this family is listed as the buyer.  She is a barrel racer and roper.  She has several sons, one of whom decided that he was going to take "the paint horse" and further his roping training.  He didn't get far with this though, as every 5th or 6th cow the paint horse would "take to bucking, and he weren't nice about it either.  Put me in the dirt many times."  Now just for the record, I do not know the JC family personally, but TC grew up with them.  They are Bascos and known for their short tempers.  Also livestock are not feeling animals, but tools for them.   So one can imagine all sorts of evil scenarios, but a middle of the road guess is that he took to bucking one time too many (for what ever reason) and it became a clash between the short temper and a horse who is pretty good at shutting down and getting himself out of what he considers to be a bad situation.  

The JC family sold him to a kid who was living with the daughter of a family who ran rough stock.  I know that he tried to rope on him, and according to the girls father she "tried some of that fancy nonsense training" that everyone is into today but it didn't work with him.   He also said that they had attempted to use him to round up rough stock but that went very badly.  Of course one has to ask, did they also attempt to see if he would make a decent bareback bronc?  Of course I'll never know the answer, but one can always speculate.  Especially since clearly he used to be fine with bareback riding, and now he isn't.  

Then he was sold to SM for who only bought him because he felt bad for the kid and the girl who "needed money badly."  SM rode him 2 times in the year that he owned him, but most of the time he was left to stand in a pasture with two other horses.  SM had no clue of his history what so ever.  No one said "He can be a little broncy" or even that he was hard headed.  They just said, "He'd make a great heel horse, we've roped off of him a few times."  SM did not need a horse, did not want a horse, but wanted to help the folks out so he bought him.  

I bought him a year later and of course the rest of that is chronicled between here and face book.  

Sure there is a lot of blanks which will never be filled in.  And of course I will never know how accurate MC is with her info, or anyone else for that matter.  But the picture doesn't lie.  She is riding that horse in a halter, which is not something I would ever attempt.  

I want to go out and hug him and tell him I am so sorry for what ever happened to him.  I know it won't matter to him, but it might.  What I do know matters to him is that he is my horse now, and will remain so forever.  

For some reason I have concluded that my search for his past is over.  I did not press MC for more info.  I did not elaborate too much about the horse he is now, other than to say that something had gone terribly wrong in his life and that we have been working for years to get him over his fear of ropes.   She was happy to hear that he has a good home now, and she said she would make sure her girls knew too.  She said they always remembered him for some reason.  

I guess knowing that someone loved him once, besides me, is enough. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What I have learned about running a small boarding stable after 1 year

I know I have been very absent for a long while.  With out boring job to keep me in front of a computer all day I find I have very little time for blogging.  I can do facebook from my phone pretty easy and on the go. Blogging takes a little more conscious effort.

Anyway, it has been a little over a year since I started boarding horses for other people and taking their money.  I have learned a lot in the last year and as I reflected upon those things this morning I thought it would be a nice post.  So here it is:

1. Manure Happens......A LOT!!!  It took me a while to figure out what to do with all the excess. I had more than I can feasibly spread on my small pastures.  It was suggested that I spread it in the arena but I decided against that as well. My reason is because right now I have a good amount of sand in there and when it rains it never gets soupy.  It drains off quickly and with a quick once over with the tractor is gorgeous.  I have learned that manure holds in the water and will get mucky pretty quick.  I was filling up a trailer and hauling to the dump once a month, but that was not practical for summer months,. The flies were awful.  I finally found a company which dropped off a small dumpster.  I can fill it up all week long and they come and get it once a month. Plus I can put all my other trash in there as well, so I only have one trash fee for the whole property and the fee is reasonable.

2. When deciding who to turn out with whom, always know who your alphas are.  I had thought that mares with mares, and geldings with geldings would work. I could not have been more wrong.  What I have learned is to put my Alpha mare in with the geldings, and the Alpha Gelding in with the mares, and everyone gets along just fine.  At least that is how it seems to be working right now.

3. While there are some "pain in the behind" owners out there, most boarders are pretty easy to get a long with as long as you care about their needs and about their horses. I try to follow my boarders feeding directions to a T and don't make changes without discussing it with them first.  However, I have found that most of them prefer to defer to "What every you think, Cindy,"

4. Pasture time makes for happy ponies.

5. Mosquito's make for unhappy ponies.  (I have done a lot of research in mosquito control and found a really awesome product called "Mosquito Bits" which I put on my pasture right after irrigating.  It has cut the pest population in half and is safe for grazing animals.)

6. Mosquito's seem to prefer dark meat. For some reason the dark colored horses are just plagued by them even after being sprayed. The other horses seem fine once they get sprayed.

7. By the end of a summer of irrigation and mosquito's, even the most stubborn horse will stand quietly for spraying even with out a halter.

8. Maintaining a nice pasture is a lot more work than most people realize.

9. Don't sweat the small stuff.

10.  Shavings in a stall are wonderful for keeping your horses clean, but they are a pain for cleaning...just saying.  I prefer my dry lot pens where I rake it into a pile and scoop it into the tractor.

11. Always maintain your tractor.  You will be most unhappy if you don't and it breaks.

12.  Non horsey members of your family will be very reluctant to assist you in your endeavor, and will not understand why you are busy every single evening.  They will start asking for things like dinner, and clean laundry, and help with homework.

13.  It does not take long to find yourself with a waiting list of people who would like to board at your facility.

14. If you think you have time to work a part time job and properly take care of nine horses, you are probably wrong...well at least not if you plan on having a life, and definitely if you want to ever ride again.

15.  Cleaning stalls absolutely sucks when it is 115 outside.  (just saying)

16.  If one horse gets hurt, you can bet money that every single horse on the property will try to one up that horse by getting hurt even worse.  It is like a competition for them!

So that is what I have learned this year.  I actually quite enjoy my little endeavor so far. Of course there are some days when I just wish there were no horses at all out there wanting my attention, but for the most part I love what I do.

I did make the mistake of taking a part time job at a feed store that just opened up down the road from me. And while I do enjoy that job, I still question whether or not it is the right thing to do.

On a side note, my horses are doing very well. Trax is back to his normal self, and Melody is looking fabulous and is totally back up to weight.  We have a show coming up in 2 weeks and I do promise to do a blog post with pictures after that. I will be taking them both.   Killian is being ridden by a young girl who wants to rope on him, which I am thrilled about.  I think he is happy about it too. He pretty much does what ever she asks him too, so it is a good match.   Sassy is no longer mine.  I sold her to BEC and she has been bred to Firewater Fooler.  I still have her here for now, but she should be heading up to her new home sometime in the next 2 months.  I will miss her very much but I know she will have the best possible care, and will produce some lovely little foals for BEC.

I hope all my blogging friends are doing well.  I have not even logged in until today in a very long time.  But I hope to start back at it.  I miss it very much.